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NGOs seen to be lacking in competence, study reveals


21 February 2020 at 4:52 pm
Luke Michael
But NGOs are considered the only ethical institution


Luke Michael | 21 February 2020 at 4:52 pm


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NGOs seen to be lacking in competence, study reveals
21 February 2020 at 4:52 pm

But NGOs are considered the only ethical institution

Australians believe NGOs are ethical but falling short on competence, according to new research.

The release of Australian data from the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that the bushfire crisis has eroded trust in four institutions: government, media, NGOs and business.

Australia’s Trust Index score for the “informed public” – those with a tertiary education and in the top 25 per cent income bracket – fell from an all-time high of 68-points to 59-points over the last three months.

While business was the only institution seen as competent, it was not seen as ethical.

NGOs in comparison were perceived as the only ethical institution, but were rated less competent than the business sector.

These findings mimic those from the global results, although Australians actually rated the sector less competent than the global average.

Edelman Australia CEO Michelle Hutton said 89 per cent of the general population cited environmental issues such as the bushfires, droughts, and climate change among their top concerns.

She said institutions needed to drive action, embrace potentially difficult change and win back the confidence of the nation.

“Australia’s informed public saw a severe breakdown of trust from the government in response to the recent bushfire catastrophes,” Hutton said.

“This should have been an opportunity to unite the nation and build security but instead, the lack of empathy, authenticity and communications crushed trust across the country.

“Australians no longer feel in control. The new decade marks an opportunity for our institutions to step up, take action, and lead on key issues that will unite Australians and instill hope for the future.”

The study also revealed that Australians expect the business sector to take the lead on social issues.

Almost nine in 10 people (86 per cent) said CEOs should speak out on social issues, while 78 per cent said CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for the government to take action.

Hutton said people were looking to government and business to partner on important current issues. 

“Listening to stakeholder concerns and partnering together to achieve a common goal is this year a key theme across institutions – but with Australians not able to see their ability or willingness to do this in a meaningful way,” she said.


Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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